By Emmanuel Abanah
Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, recently sent out an inspiring new year and decade message to billions of people all over the world through his lifelong “website”, Facebook. He noted that in previous years his goals had been short term annual goals such as learning a language, learning to speak in public and doing exercise more often. However, he declared that he is now taking a long term perspective by focusing on how the world would work by the year 2030.
According to Zuckerberg, Five major issues will shape the world in the next decade. These are generational change, a new social platform, decentralization of opportunities, the next computing platform and new forms of governance. By generational change Mark refers to making the changes really come to pass. For decades many issues have lingered and institutions and people in authority have failed to change things. Mark says that this decade millennials will grow in influence and actually begin to implement the required changes. “It turned out it wasn’t just my generation that felt marginalized and needed more voice though, and these tools have given power to lots of different groups across society. I’m glad more people have voice, but it hasn’t yet brought about the generational change in addressing important issues I had hoped for. I think that will happen this decade…by the end of this decade, I expect more institutions will be run by millennials and more policies will be set to address these problems with longer term outlooks.”
Mark predicts that in the next five years, people will be more interested in local social networks that guarantee their privacy while keeping them in touch with the niche of people and services that they need. The World Wide Web is too wide so people who always want a sense of belonging and purpose will always create that new private social network. “For the next decade, some of the most important social infrastructure will help us reconstruct all kinds of smaller communities to give us that sense of intimacy again…this is one of the areas of innovation I’m most excited about. Our digital social environments will feel very different over the next 5+ years, re-emphasizing private interactions and helping us build the smaller communities we all need in our lives.”
In this decade he expects opportunities to be broadened for individuals and small businesses through more or easier access to commercial technology tools such as online advertising, money transfer etc. As these processes become easier and more affordable, Mark sees a world of exponential growth both for people and businesses. “If we can make it so anyone can sell products through a storefront on Instagram, message and support their customers through Messenger, or send money home to another country instantly and at low cost through WhatsApp — that will go a long way towards creating more opportunity around the world.”
The 1990s was about the desktop computer, 2000s was about the World Wide Web and the 2010s was about smart phones. Mark predicts that this decade will be about “augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology. Augmented and virtual reality are about delivering a sense of presence — the feeling that you’re right there with another person or in another place. Instead of having devices that take us away from the people around us, the next platform will help us be more present with each other and will help the technology get out of the way.” Indeed, this particular prediction is surely what everyone cannot wait for.
Virtual reality has come to stay and digital communities have grown so big and complicated. One obvious outcome of this is that interactions and activities need to be regulated and policed effectively to control trends like cybercrime, cyber bullying, crypto currency and what have you. According to Mark, “one of the big questions for the next decade is: how should we govern the large new digital communities that the internet has enabled?” Mark signed off his new millennium message by admonishing the internet army to take on the decade with gusto. “We’ve got a lot to do this decade and there’s a lot to learn to help make this all happen. I hope your New Year and new decade are off to a good start. Here’s to a great 2020s.” Cheers Mark.
PHOTO: Courtesy Mark Zuckerberg